LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In 1943 when he was old enough, NedMelancon knew which branch of the military he was going to serve in during WWII. He two older brothers were in the Navy and he joined the Sea Bees.
“We built the air strip on Guam and worked on air strips in other places, like where the atomic bomb took off. We repaired that. Several other islands, Saipan.”
After World War 2, Ned joined the reserves and was drafted for the Korean War. He served on board a ship off the coast of Korea.
“We had a lot of skirmishes with land guns, you know. Especially in Won Son. at the siege of Won Son. It got pretty rough.”
When he returned to the states, he settled in Cameron parish. Then came Hurricane Audrey. While he was at work, his wife and children stayed with family in Creole.
“Well I had two beautiful children and young wife. They went to my sister’s house, they thought it would be safer. As it turned out my house stayed and the other one broke.”
Ned didn’t find out they were gone until the following day.
“Yeah, you blame yourself for not being there. For years and years I blamed myself for not being there. After a while you learn to live with it.”
Melancon is an active member of the Cajun French Music Association and entertains at local nursing homes each month.